Saturday Morning Quilt Break: Of Rabbits, Rain and Log Cabins | Quilty Pleasures Blog

Sometimes I don’t get to sew on Saturday morning. Sometimes I instead have to take one of my daughters to an urgent care appointment at our doctors’ office because of a double ear infection and then wait for her prescription to be filled at the pharmacy. Sometimes that’s just the way Saturday goes, which was the case last week.

But once my daughter started feeling better by Sunday morning, I was able to make some time to sew. I’m working on a Log Cabin throw quilt in red, taupe and ivory that I’m making with a couple of jelly rolls of the Project Red collection, Sweetwater’s upcoming line for Moda (look for it in stores starting in December).

I had started it the week before while participating in National Sew a Jelly Roll Day with an eye toward making a 60” x 60” throw quilt as a Christmas gift for someone on my list. Seeing as how I had made one 20” x 20” block out of the nine I need and the strips were still laid out on the guest bed I use as a design surface, I figured I might as well just keep trucking with it and return to the free-motion quilting I’d been working on later.

of rabbits rain and log cabins log cabin in progress Saturday Morning Quilt Break: Of Rabbits, Rain and Log Cabins

Log cabin blocks in progress. I estimate I’m about 3 hours away from a finished 60” x 60” quilt top at this point.

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I always feel like somebody’s watching me… but who’s watching whom?

The autumn weather we’d been promised moved in right on schedule and stayed all week. Sunday was a rather drizzly day, but I opened the window in the guest/sewing room anyway for some air. As I described in my first Saturday Morning Quilt Break blog post, the windows on the lower floor of our split-level house are just a few inches above ground level, so when I opened the curtains I found myself almost nose to nose with a neighborhood rabbit that was apparently seeking shelter from the rain by huddling next to my lavender plant. It was there for a few hours, barely moving a muscle, especially when it knew someone was looking at it. I felt very … surveilled, but my daughters got a kick out of it.

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20” x 20” Log Cabin block

I don’t normally post photos of works-in-progress on my Facebook timeline, but I had posted a photo of the first completed Log Cabin block the week prior with the caption, “I started my first ever log cabin quilt this weekend using some Moda jelly rolls I got for National Sew a Jelly Roll Day. [Husband] has already declared it his favorite thing I’ve made so far based on this one block—too bad this quilt isn’t intended for him.”

The photo got a lot of likes and a handful of comments from people saying they loved the colors and the fabrics. I mean, it’s just a Log Cabin block, but Log Cabins are inherently awesome, so it’s understandable that people would respond positively to a single block.

Here’s some professional advice: you can never go wrong with a Log Cabin quilt. I mean, yes, some fabric placement choices are better than others (hint: pay more attention to value than to color), but as a basic design, you can make a Log Cabin quilt to suit any style, from super-traditional to completely modern. They’re also really easy to make and are great for beginners.

In retrospect, I think I may have spent almost as much time deliberating fabric choice and color placement as I’ve spent cutting and sewing. I’m making this with particular recipients in mind, and naturally I want to make something I think they’ll like. Based on having been to their home and some photos they’ve posted on Facebook, I decided to aim for a look that’s more contemporary than traditional and to stick with a largely monochromatic red color palette (hence why I chose the Project Red jelly rolls).

I started planning my placement by folding some strips and auditioning them in a rough layout to get an idea of what a block might look like.

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auditioning fabric

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auditioning fabric

But before I started cutting, I wanted to have a better idea of where I was headed. So I cut 9 small squares of fabric (although some were not so square), colored them with crayons and started playing with different arrangements.

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arrangement #1

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arrangement #2

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arrangement #3

I liked the asymmetry of arrangement #3, but felt like I wanted more color. So the next day I did some more coloring and arranging.

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arrangement #4

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arrangement #5

There were actually more variations than what I’m showing here, but these are a good sample of how I played around with my little pieces of paper. Arrangement #5 is what I decided to make.

Once I had completed and photographed that first block, I was able to copy the image into a Word document and rotate the blocks to get an even better idea of what different arrangements might look like.

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Word document mock-up of Log Cabin quilt

I’ll be done making the blocks soon—like I said, this is a fast and easy quilt pattern—and may play with their arrangement in real life before stitching them together. But I won’t be surprised if I stick with my planned asymmetric setting.

I’m still experiencing some twinges of doubt as to whether the recipients will really feel as if this quilt is at home in their home. But once a gift is given, you just have to let go of your own expectations and move on to the next project I suppose. This may be my first Log Cabin, but I bet it won’t be my last.

With that, I want to wish you a good week!
Mary Kate

Comments (4)

  • Marsha S

    How large is your center square? I love this Quilt!

    July 21, 2018 at 12:51 pm
    • Brenna Riley Gates

      Hi Marsha,
      The quilt blocks in Mary Kate’s quilt are 20″ square.
      Best,
      Brenna
      The Quilting Company

      August 14, 2018 at 4:47 pm
  • Norma K

    Can I buy a paper pattern of this quilt and instructions for arrangement #5? Where can I find that? Can I find this Jelly roll and where? Thank you

    July 21, 2018 at 5:27 pm
    • Brenna Riley Gates

      I didn’t use a pattern for my quilt. I started with 4 1/2″ solid red squares for the centers of the blocks (which finish at 4″), and then cut the 2 1/2″ jelly roll strips the lengths needed for the logs to make blocks that finish at 20″ square. I made all of the blocks identical in terms of fabric placement and then rotated them to find an arrangement I liked; arrangement #5 is the same as the Word document mock-up image. (I recommend playing with your blocks!) As for the fabric, I used jelly rolls of Project Red by Sweetwater for Moda, which was released in December 2017 but is still available from different online retailers and perhaps your local quilt shop. I hope that helps, Norma. When you make your log cabin quilt, send us a picture! We’d love to see it.

      August 23, 2018 at 3:33 pm

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